Artificial Intelligence, A Bank Will Fail in 2017, the End of Moore’s Law + more


It’s been a while since I’ve last thrown a collection of what’s piqued my curiosity together and shared it with the world, and boy has a lot happened since then.  I’d like to say that I’ve been keeping tabs and can pull from the best over the past few weeks, but, honestly, it’d be too much content to share.

First off, I have to start with a topic that has gotten quite a bit of news the past week or so: Uber.  Now, I know, the story of sexism and, frankly, border line assault has gotten a lot of press, but it’s indicative of a broader problem in and out of Silicon Valley in tech firms.  For those of you who’ve been under a rock, check out this article from recode or this one from Vanity Fair.  And while we’ve known for a while that Travis Kalanick is, for lack of a better term, an asshole, that too was captured recently, his stating that he needs to “grow up” as though that’s excuse enough for that behavior and the culture he has created at Uber is ludicrous.  If you’re thinking it’s not that big a deal, recode has another piece that might change your mind.  All that said, HBR has a great article this week on what Silicon VAlley firms could do to stop driving away female engineers.   Core to that is to stop making female engineers prove themselves over and over again while we excuse unacceptable behavior from men while expecting women to fit into a tightly defined box of what’s appropriate behavior.

Not shockingly, AI and Machine Learning are driving quite a bit of M&A activity, along with IoT technology.  This article from Forbes notes that AI will be at the center of most corporate deals in 2017.  While we’re on the topic, there’s also this piece from Techcrunch about how machine learning is going to accelerate even further with greater open source adoption and how AI research reached a tipping point precipitated by a combination of low-cost ultra-powerful computing, progress in algorithm design and access to large sources of data.  While AI has been the topic of many articles these past months and few years, MIT Technology Review notes that it is “the new black” with a seismic shift in both how businesses use artificial intelligence and how that impacts all of us.  The long and the short is we’re getting even closer to cognitive computing, which puts us further down the path towards artificial general intelligence I spoke about last spring.  Scientific American goes so far to question whether democracy can survive AI and big data.  As they state, artificial intelligence is no longer programmed line by line, but is now capable of learning, thereby continuously developing itself.  That begs the question, however, of if technology leaders are scared of artificial intelligence, shouldn’t we be?

Then there’s the flip side of Big Data and how it kills businesses because it’s, well, so big.

Heard of Cloudbleed?  It’s likely you have, but if not, here’s the scoop, oh, and before you read that, you may want to change your passwords … again.  Then there’s this article about how a chip flaw has exposed hundreds of thousands of devices.

From McKinsey somewhat recently is a dive into what Telcos need to do to grow in an increasingly digital world.  Facebook’s suggestion?  Just share the infrastructure.

Then there’s this interesting article about Kernel, the company trying to hack the human brain.  While neuroscience may be far from ready, it’s amazing how much more attainable those science fiction concepts of even a decade ago are today.

OK, so a quick break from technology for a second – there’s been a few things written of late on strategy and organizations.  First, there’s this one about how leaders don’t fear risk but instead turn it into a money-making strategy.  The next is how communities go about solving problems that matter.  Another is how strategy talk creates value, while this article captures how a technology company (Microsoft) turned itself around by not accepting the status quo.

What’s that about a bank failing in 2017?  Well, that’s exactly one of the predictions from BBC News in this article.  The expectation is that a successful cyber security attack on a bank in 2017 will erode the confidence in that (and possibly other) institution and lead to a run on it.  Want to know about one of the tools hackers use?  This article has a good look at how botnets are created and used – ignore the title of the article if you will, the overview is pretty concise.  Then there’s this one that asks whether today’s cryptography can survive quantum computing.

Interested in the state of the internet in 2017?   Well, we’ve got all your statistics for you here.

So there’s been a lot of news of late about the future of work (or not working, for that matter).  Bill Gates recently said that if a robot takes your job, that robot should be expected to pay taxes.    Gates also had a number of other things to say, but that one seems to have stuck out.  Then there’s JPMorgan’s software that now does in seconds what used to take lawyers 360,000 hours (yes, you read that right).  Then there’s this piece that explores how tech leaders think that universal income is going to be driven by the “automation” or skill replacement of so much of what we do.   While it’s not the 24th century yet, it’s interesting to consider.

So, a brief side-step to look at this piece that does an excellent job of demonstrating (visually, among other ways) the fundamental differences between Apple and Google and how they have fundamentally different innovation signatures.

Elon Musk, by the by, also thinks that we will all have to merge with machines to survive.  Yup. He sure does.

There’s another good read recently from McKinsey about how CIOs need to adopt an ecosystem view of business technology.  Speaking of, here’s an interesting bit of news: over half of the CIOs out there today don’t have a digital transformation strategy.

Pew Research Center has a dive into the pros and cons of the algorithm age, and then there’s this piece about how serial killers should fear a particular algorithm.

 While Netflix may be dominating over Amazon in the states for streaming content (due, in my opinion, to a really crappy interface), the tables are turned in India – read more to find out why, but fundamentally it comes down to understanding your market and how to price your product.

Would you believe the next big blue-collar job is going to be coding?  Let Wired explain why.

Last this week is a post by Rodney Brooks about the end of Moore’s Law, the law that has driven so many of our beliefs and understanding for fifty plus years.  As Brooks puts it, we’re to a point where we’ve gotten down to a single grain of sand, which we can’t then divide into more grains of sand.  Integrated circuitry has been reduced to such a small size that to reduce it further would, in essence, make it break down due to quantum effects.  That end, however, is going to finally force a major change in computer architecture because we won’t be constrained by a law that, while insightful, in the end has constrained us as well.  This will lead, as noted elsewhere, to technology like quantum computers, and better yet, technology we can’t even fathom because we’ve haven’t been forced to yet.

So, for a TED talk this week, I thought taking a back from the edge might be a bit appropriate.  Wanis Kabbaj is a self-proclaimed transportation geek who believes that traffic can flow through our cities in an effortless flow.  In his forward-thinking talk, preview exciting concepts like modular, detachable buses, flying taxis and networks of suspended magnetic pods that could help make the dream of a dynamic, driverless world into a reality.

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